SC4 professor teaches to help students obtain their dream job

When Professor of Biology Janice Fritz started her Ph.D. program, she had no intention of being a teacher. As a student she was given financial support as a teaching assistant. “I was more than a little uncertain about teaching biology labs to undergrads,” said Fritz. “But it turned out that I loved it.”

The further she got in her Ph.D. program, the more she wanted to teach and the less she wanted to run a research program. After completing her postdoctoral training, she taught part-time at Wayne State University and Lansing Community College. “I really enjoyed both,” said Fritz. “But I really loved teaching at the community college level.”

“I love the focus on teaching, the variety of students, and the interactions I can have given the small class sizes,” said Fritz. “Truly, I have my dream job.” 

Fritz teaches Human Anatomy and Physiology, a core course for allied health programs like nursing and respiratory therapy, as well as pre-professional programs for students looking to go on to become doctors, pharmacists, physical therapists, physician assistants, and more. Given the importance of high-quality health care professionals, it’s important that SC4’s healthcare-related programs, and the courses that feed into them, like Fritz’s, are rigorous and provide students with the information and skills they need to succeed. Fritz wants her classes to be challenging and she tries to provide students with all the tools they need to meet the challenge.

Fritz notes that during the pandemic, it’s been harder to teach students in a virtual environment, but she’s worked hard to give them the best possible experience, using a combination of technology and hands-on experience to replace the activities done normally in the classroom. She uses online digital models to help students identify anatomical structures and students also received supplies for building models, dissecting specimens, measuring vital signs, assessing sensory function, conducting urinalysis, and more. She uses live sessions through Microsoft Teams (recorded for those who can’t attend) to review the activities and demonstrate procedures. She uses a large monitor to see the students and keep an eye on the chat window, a multimedia computer to project documents though an interactive projector so she can add annotations, a document camera for sharing physical objects, a phone for demonstrating apps, and a laptop for accessing other documents. So she has her hands full!

Fritz held a few live sessions where students were able to come to campus if they wanted help with their dissecting. With only a few students in the room, they could maintain social distancing requirements and Fritz used the document camera to show the dissection and point out structures. Sessions were streamed for the benefit of students who couldn’t, or preferred not to, be on campus.

Online learning is definitely a challenge for some students, who have had to cope with computer issues, software incompatibilities, Wi-Fi issues, illness, and more. “Overall, my students are doing a great job engaging, staying on top of the work, and learning the content,” said Fritz. “I have just as much confidence in the future success of my students this semester as any other semester.”

“I teach at SC4 so I can help my students get their dream job like I did,” said Fritz, smiling.

To learn more about available programs at SC4, visit sc4.edu/programs. If you are looking to start your educational journey, let us help, fill out an application today at sc4.edu/starthere.

Instructor Scott Berg encourages students to stay strong during current learning environment

The Engineering Graphics program at St. Clair County Community College prepares students for real life experiences using hands-on preparation. This gives them the foundational skills to be successful, whether they start their career in our community or if they choose to continue their education beyond SC4.

In instructor Scott Berg’s classroom, the COVID-19 pandemic has presented challenges, but students have adapted to using the protocols set in place to allow continued hands-on learning in the classroom. Wearing masks and shields, practicing social distancing and washing hands frequently is the new normal. Berg also contributes a successful learning environment to the SC4 maintenance staff keeping the classroom environment clean and disinfected.

“I have been encouraging students to keep their heads up and to keep smiling, because they can be a light to others during this difficult time,” said Berg. “Nothing lasts forever.”

In Introduction to Computer Aided Drafting (ETG-115), students get an introduction to the use of AutoCAD software, focusing on geometric construction and editing tools. They learn and incorporate techniques of computer-aided drafting practices by reading and checking drawings, principles of orthographic projection, and working drawings.

This class is part of the first semester curriculum for any student interested in earning an Associate in Applied Arts and Science in Engineering Technology—Engineering Graphics/CAD degree.

Students gain experience with software such as AutoCAD, Autodesk Inventor, Solidworks and CATIA, while translating their drawings to life using 3D printers. These experiences provide the foundational skills to adapt to multiple platforms of computer-aided design (CAD) now being used in manufacturing, automotive, medical and other fields. Advanced, specialized courses help students develop proficiency in areas such as bodyline design, tool and die, and injection mold design.

“I know it sounds cliché, but teaching at SC4 has given me the opportunity to serve,” Berg said. “I enjoy guiding students and learning from them.”

To learn more about engineering programs at SC4, visit https://sc4.edu/programs/science-technology-engineering-math/.

Winter classes start in January. Current students can register now through the Portal Service Center and new students can learn more and get started at sc4.edu/start here.

Students overcome online lab limitations

Students in Professor Carrie Dollar’s BIO 272 class recently completed their own blood typing tests at home. Even though COVID-19 has presented challenges to our faculty and students, learning is continuing!

Longtime SC4 Professor James Jones honored with national AACC award

St. Clair County Community College Professor of Criminal Justice James Jones has been awarded the American Association of Community Colleges’ (AACC) 2020 Dale P. Parnell Faculty Distinction Recognition for his work in making a difference in the classroom.

As a Faculty Distinction recipient, Jones will be recognized on the AACC Faculty Wall of Distinction, on the AACC website and at AACC’s 100th Annual Convention in March, where he will be honored with a private reception.

“Jim has devoted his life to giving back to others, and we are thrilled to congratulate him on this prestigious award,” said SC4 President Dr. Deborah A. Snyder. “His dedication to the success of SC4’s criminal justice program is admirable as is his devotion to ensuring that his students gain hands-on knowledge and experience with criminal situations and scenarios.”

Jones has been teaching at SC4 since 1997 both as an adjunct instructor and a full-time professor. In addition to his full-time teaching, he also serves as a part-time police officer with the Marine City Police Department. Jones previously served as a full-time officer for the Port Huron Police Department for 28 years.

At SC4, he organizes off-campus learning experiences for students, including visits to the city of Detroit to shadow the Detroit Police Department on ride-alongs. He also is actively engaged in other college activities as well, including leading and serving on event, recruitment and curriculum committees.

According to Snyder, Jones is known for going out of his way to ensure that his students succeed and complete their goals.

SC4 releases schedule for upcoming health sciences program info sessions

Throughout the coming months, St. Clair County Community College will hold free information sessions on main campus for a number of its in-demand health sciences programs.

Attending an info session is the first step for anyone interested in earning a health sciences degree from SC4. For those interested in nursing programs, attending a session is mandatory.

Schedule:

Group informational meeting

  • Meet with representatives from SC4’s medical assisting, paramedic/EMT, respiratory therapy and health information technology programs
  • 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. Monday, Nov. 11 – Health Sciences Building, Room 106

Health Information Technology

  • 6 to 7 p.m. Monday, Nov. 18 – Health Sciences Building, Room 106
  • Noon to 1 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 3 – College Center, Room 100A

The health information technology program prepares students for a variety of careers in the health care field. Students learn the process of acquiring, analyzing, and protecting digital and traditional medical information, which is vital to providing quality patient care, supporting medical education and research, and more. Graduates are eligible to take the nationally recognized Registered Health Information Technician Exam.

For more information about info sessions and additional program details, visit sc4.edu/hit.

Medical Assisting

  • 5 to 6 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 1 – Applied Technology Center, Room 119
  • 6 to 7 p.m. Monday, Sept. 9 – Health Sciences Building, Room 138
  • 6 to 7 p.m.  Monday, Oct. 14 – Health Sciences Building, Room 138
  • 6 to 7 p.m. Monday, Nov. 18 – Health Sciences Building, Room 138

The medical assisting program is a 12-month certificate program that prepares students to perform various clinical and administrative duties in a variety of health care settings. Graduates gain the knowledge and skills necessary for further health sciences education and are eligible to take the national credentialing exam.

For more information about info sessions and additional program details, visit sc4.edu/medical-assisting.

Radiologic Technology

  • 6 to 7 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 1 – Welcome Center, Room 206
  • 6 to 7 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 10 – Welcome Center, Room 206
  • 6 to 7 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 20 – Welcome Center, Room 206

The radiologic technology program prepares students to become radiologic technologists by combining imaging technology with patient care skills to create quality radiography images. It has a five-year, 100 percent first-time passage rate on the American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT) Exam, a national registry exam that grants certification in radiologic technology.

For more information about info sessions and additional program details, visit sc4.edu/radtech.

Respiratory Therapy

  • 6 to 7 p.m. Monday, Sept. 9 – Health Sciences Building, Room 105
  • 6 to 7 p.m. Monday, Oct. 14 – Health Sciences Building, Room 105
  • 6 to 7 p.m. Monday, Nov. 18 – Health Sciences Building, Room 105

The respiratory therapy program prepares students to become respiratory therapists through the assessment and treatment of patients with acute and chronic lung and cardiovascular disorders and diseases. Respiratory therapists have demanding responsibilities related to patient care and are a vital component of the health care team. Students graduating from the program will obtain an Associate in Applied Arts and Science degree, and become eligible to take the National Board of Respiratory Care (NBRC) credentialing examination.

For more information about info sessions and additional program details, visit sc4.edu/respiratory-therapy.

Nursing programs

Practical Nursing

  • 1 to 2 p.m. Tuesday, Aug. 6 – Main Building, Room 312
  • 9 to 10 a.m. Thursday, Nov. 21 – Health Sciences Building, Room 203

The Practical Nursing program prepares graduates to take the state exam to become a licensed practical nurse. This program prepares students to work within the interdisciplinary team under the direct supervision of an RN in a variety of settings such as long-term care facilities, rehabilitation facilities, doctor’s offices and home health care.

Nursing Transition Program

  • 9 to 10 a.m. Tuesday, Aug. 6 – Main Building, Room 312
  • 6 to 7 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 17 – Health Sciences Building, Room 106
  • 1 to 2 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 21 – Health Sciences Building, Room 203

The ADN transition program is designed for licensed health care professionals who want to become registered nurses. The program is an accelerated course of study designed to expand upon previous education and experience.

Associate Degree Nursing

  • 2 to 3 p.m. Tuesday, Aug. 6 – Main Building, Room 312
  • 5 to 6 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 17 – Health Sciences Building, Room 106
  • 10 to 11 a.m. Thursday, Nov. 21 – Health Sciences Building, Room 203

The Associate Degree Nursing program prepares students for work with an interdisciplinary team in health care with multiple areas of entry such as surgery, mental health, obstetrical nursing and other adult and child areas of care. Graduates are eligible to take the national licensure examination to become a registered nurse.

For detailed information on all of SC4’s nursing programs, visit sc4.edu/nursing.

Magnetic Resonance Imaging

  • 10 a.m. Tuesday, Dec. 3 – Health Sciences Building, Room 136.

Magnetic Resonance Imaging, or MRI, procedures play an important role in diagnosing diseases and injuries. An MRI uses magnetic field and radio waves to produce images of the inside of the human body. MRI technologies are mostly employed by hospitals but increasingly, jobs are becoming available in physician offices and imaging centers.

The MRI program is offered through a partnership with other Michigan Community Colleges in the Michigan Radiologic and Imaging Science (MiRIS) Consortium. It prepares students to meet the established objectives and eligibility requirements of the American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT) and to complete the MRI certification exam.

For more information about info sessions and additional program details, visit sc4.edu/mri.

Paramedic

  • Information session to be hosted in November 2019. More information to follow.

This 12-month certificate program is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs to prepare students for exciting careers saving lives on ambulances, fire department advanced life support units or in hospital emergency rooms. Graduates are eligible to take the national registry paramedic exam and apply for the Michigan Paramedic License.

For more information about info sessions and additional program details, visit sc4.edu/paramedic.

Professor Laurie Lamont receives SC4 Distinguished Faculty Award.

Laurie Lamont, professor of associate degree nursing at St. Clair County Community College, was honored as the SC4 Distinguished Faculty Award winner during a faculty professional development session Thursday, Jan. 3. The award is based on a faculty member’s personal and professional impact with students and colleagues and in the community. Also nominated for the award were Paul Bedard, professor of mathematics, and Chris Hiebert, professor of engineering graphics.​​​​​

In a first for the region, sturgeon exhibit to be feature of SC4 Super Science Day and new Experience Center

St. Clair County Community College’s new Experience Center soon will be home to a sturgeon exhibit as part of a unique environmental education program created for K-12 schools by the Michigan Department of Natural Resources.

20181019_193751(1)The Sturgeon in the Classroom program is facilitated in Southeast Michigan by Sturgeon for Tomorrow, a nonprofit group that works to preserve and protect the future of lake sturgeon in the Huron-Erie corridor. Plans to develop the program for SC4 came out of a collaboration between the group’s St. Clair-Detroit River chapter and another nonprofit organization, Friends of the St. Clair River, which works to protect the St. Clair Watershed and educate the public about its importance.

SC4’s sturgeon exhibit – currently scheduled to open to the public by the college’s Super Science Day on Nov. 3 – will be the first of its kind in St. Clair County.

“Lake sturgeon are an important species in the St. Clair River ecosystem,” says Carrie Dollar, professor of Biology at SC4 and a member of the Friends of the St. Clair River board of directors. “The northern end of the St. Clair River, just a few miles from the college, boasts one of the largest successful breeding grounds for lake sturgeon in the entire Great Lakes ecosystem.”

The sturgeon will be located within the Experience Center at SC4 and housed in a large tank. In April, it will be reclaimed by Sturgeon for Tomorrow and released back into its waters of origin in the Black River in Cheboygan County, Michigan.

“By being housed in our tank for the winter, we are significantly increasing the survival rate of this sturgeon once it’s released back into the wild,” says Dollar. “The hope is that its temporary stay increases its fitness and ability to one day become a successful, active breeding animal in the wild.”

IMG_1740The Experience Center’s sturgeon exhibit will provide a living complement to the unique items in the college’s Dr. Bassam H. Nasr Natural Science Museum, which is home the largest collection of fossil artifacts in the Michigan thumb region. Sturgeon fossils appear in rocks dating from 66 to 100 million years ago, meaning the fish was a contemporary of later dinosaurs like the Triceratops and Tyrannosaurus.

Beyond the biology, the program also provides a valuable opportunity to highlight the region’s Native American cultures. Lake sturgeon, known as Nmé to many of the area’s First Nation tribes, are the top fish clan and an important resource to Native Americans, including the Gun Lake Tribe, which reveres sturgeon as grandfathers and grandmothers whose clan members are “as long lived as the fish.”

Super Science Day will take place from 10 a.m. to noon on Saturday, Nov. 3, in the Clara E. Mackenzie Building on SC4’s campus. The free event is open to the public and will give guests a sneak preview of the new Experience Center partnership with the Ann Arbor Hands-On Museum, a partnership which will result in a multifaceted interactive STEAM center aimed at promoting exploration, education and inspiration in Southeast Michigan.

Learn more about Super Science Day and the Experience Center at SC4.

Hackers are getting smarter, but you can take steps to protect yourself

October is National Cyber Security Awareness Month, which means we’re paying more attention to things we should already be doing.

So much of our personal information lives online, and most of us don’t protect it as well as we should.

Thrive sat down with SC4 professor of computer information systems Rob Richardson to talk all about cyber security. His biggest piece of advice: change your passwords frequently, and use different passwords for different accounts.

Here’s the rest of the conversation.

Thrive: When we sign up for an email account, I think a lot of people assume that, say, Google, is keeping our information protected. Are they?

Rob Richardson: They do, but only to the extent that you cooperate. There’s been these big data breaches, and the big one over the summer that most people don’t realize happened was that Myspace got breached. They took 360 million user accounts. Which means for a lot of people, now those credentials are out there floating around.

People don’t cooperate because we’re lazy, so we re-use credentials. I guarantee that some significant fraction of those 360 million credentials are currently in use, same username, same password, that pair, in some other website – maybe in dozens of other websites. There are attack tools that specifically can import breach data and then create a config for some other website, say Amazon, then try to log into Amazon with every one of those 360 million accounts to see how many use those credentials. Or to Gmail, or to Yahoo, Outlook, whatever.

What you can do is go to a website called www.haveibeenpwned.com. What this website will do, is you give it an email address, and it will compare it against 140 of these big public breaches.

People are lazy, we don’t want to remember different accounts for different things; we don’t want to have to change passwords. When you ask me, does Google protect my security, they do if you cooperate. Google has no way to know that you use the same password for every single thing in the universe.

Thrive: Once they get in, what would they have access to?

Richardson: They’d have access to all of your saved mail. Don’t forget, with Gmail, your Gmail login gets you everything else in Google as well. That gets you Google Drive, Google Books, Google Hangouts, Google Plus. They could retrieve the documents even if those documents were confidential. They could take those documents, modify them and pass them on. They would have access to your contacts, and could send them an attachment under your name. Or they could send link recommendations.

Thrive: How do these breaches keep happening?

Richardson: Most of these companies are in business to do something else. That something else requires them to have users. The more difficult they make it for the user, the less users they’re going to have. It’s this counterintuitive thing, they know they need good security, but strong security is never convenient. If they enforce long passwords, frequent password changes, multi-factor authentication – where before you login you have to respond to a text that it sends to your phone in addition to typing in your password – or you have to do the captcha thing, all these other forms of authentication you have to use make it less and less convenient, which means their user base shrinks. It’s this kind of fight, if we make our security too strong, we drive away our user base.

Right now because of the reuse of passwords and the ease of which people can check these big data breaches against other sites, the two-factor authentication is really the way you need to go. But most places don’t do that yet.

Thrive: It’s becoming more and more important to secure stuff, but it’s also probably becoming more and more lucrative for hackers, right?

Richardson: It is. They’re getting very, very organized now. Some of the criminal syndicates that conduct cyber attacks really think about what they’re doing. They target things that they know they can get data from. They don’t target every person, only the people who are worth targeting.

Thrive: How much more sophisticated are these emails now? Are they getting better at them?

Richardson: My key here for people is skepticism. Be very, very, very skeptical online before you provide any information or take any action.

We definitely are too trusting. The people who actually make money doing the email fraud or online scams, the ones who survive, they learn – they get good.